Fur Flies over Vegas Shelter's Policy

 |  Jan 3rd 2009  |   14 Contributions


AP reports how the Lied Animal Shelter in Las Vegas is noticing an increased frequency of enraged reactions at the shelter, with verbal asssaults occurring every day. They now call Metro Police or city marshals for help about three times each month for the most serious incidents.

At the heart of the issue is the shelter's policy which dictates that all animals -- no matter how adoptable -- be euthanized 72 hours after they arrive. It makes me sick, but it's an issue of resources, and here's the math: in 2008, the shelter took in 50,103 animals, and adopted out only 10,320 animals.

Consequently, a LOT of pet owners get told that, yes, their dear pet was at the shelter, but was euthanized before they arrived to claim it. And that's when people climb over the counters to attack the shelter personnel.

But then there are stories like that of Barbara Marques (in the photo below). Better grab a tissue before you continue reading...

About 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Marques and her husband drove from their North Las Vegas home to the shelter to look for their cat, Puddles, her indoor-outdoor cat that had been missing for a few days. When Puddles saw Marques at the shelter, "he came to the front of the cage like, 'Oh, she's here to get me,'?" she said.

Told she needed proof of ownership to get her cat, Marques went home and returned to the shelter at 3:40 p.m. with pictures and receipts from a veterinarian.

Too late, she was told. Puddles' 72 hours were up at 3:17 p.m. He was put down at 3:35 p.m.

Marques can barely tell the story, dissolving several times into sobs about the black-and-white feline she had for five years.

"I had told the man, 'Would you please put a statement on the cage not to euthanize? I'm coming back. Don't do anything to him.' He said, 'I'll do that, but he's not up for review until tomorrow anyhow, so there's nothing to worry about. But I'll put a note on the cage.'?"

When she returned to find Puddles was dead, the man told her he forgot to post the note, she said.




Seitz said the shelter is investigating the incident, which he called rare since 2007, when Lied instituted new procedures. That includes scanning animals for identifying microchips twice, once upon intake and once just before euthanization, just to be sure.

"But if we have one of those (accidents) a year, it's too many," Seitz said.

North Las Vegas has an ordinance that does not allow pet owners to let their animals, even cats, to roam, Seitz pointed out. Puddles was trapped by someone who called animal control.

Please consider adding microchipping to your list of New Year's Resolutions.

[PHOTO CREDIT: Tiffany Brown, LasVegasSun.com]

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